The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) announced on June 4 the release of its updated Monitoring Response Plan (MRP) intended to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp, and to prevent the invasive species from developing self-sustaining populations in the Great Lakes.
For the first time, the MRP was released at the same time as a summary of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes eDNA Monitoring Program.
The MRP outlines actions for the 2014 field season focused on monitoring and removal of Asian carp downstream of the Electric Barrier System in the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) and the upper Illinois Waterway, and ongoing evaluations of the effectiveness of barriers and gears used in keeping Asian carp from establishing in the CAWS and Lake Michigan.
Kevin Irons, co-chair of the ACRCC monitoring work group, said, “The 2014 Monitoring and Response Plan continues to build off past efforts to protect the Great Lakes by using past data and results to focus attention on actions that achieve the greatest results.”
Separate from the MRP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes eDNA Monitoring Program examines waters of the CAWS and also across the Great Lakes basin for early warning signs of Asian carp.
“The Great Lakes eDNA Monitoring Program highlights our partnership with Great Lakes states,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Deputy Director Charlie Wooley. “We’re excited to share with the public how we are working side by side with our state counterparts to collect information that will shape our understanding and response of the potential threat of Asian carp in waters throughout the Midwest.”
In addition to several recurring actions from last year, new actions to monitor populations of Asian carp in the upper Illinois Waterway and the Chicago Area Waterway System in 2014 include:
increased sampling for Asian carp downstream of the Electric Dispersal Barriers to better focus on the leading edge of the Asian carp population in the CAWS;
getting contract commercial fishing crews to “expend more effort” in the target areas of the Marseilles and Dresden Island pools of the upper Illinois Waterway;
a heightened Asian carp telemetry monitoring program around the Electric Dispersal Barriers;
monitoring for adult and juvenile bighead carp and silver carp in the upper Des Plaines River focused in four new target areas, and examining the river upstream of the former Hofmann Mad for potential Asian carp habitat; and
testing the effects of water-gun seismic pressure waves on in-water structures before this technology is employed in critical navigational waters.
President Obama created the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee in 2009 to coordinate international, federal, state and local efforts to combat Asian carp.